A. Curricular/Research/Programmatic Needs
The food science & human nutrition collection of the Michigan State University Main Library serves the instructional and research needs of faculty and students in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition and supports the needs of the Institute for Food Laws & Regulations and the Food, Nutrition and Health area of MSU Extension.
The Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition is jointly administered by the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and the College of Natural Science and offers majors in the following areas:
Food Science (B.S., M.S., Ph.D.), a multi-disciplinary science which applies chemistry, biochemistry, microbiology, physics, engineering, nutrition, toxicology, and other basic and applied sciences to problems related to the production, preservation, processing, distribution, evaluation, safety and utilization of food. Students select one or more concentrations in Food Technology, Food Business and Industry, Food Biotechnology, Food Chemistry, Food Safety, or Food Packaging. The department also offers a Specialization in Food Processing and Technology for non-majors who need an introduction to food science and the food industry to complement business or technical skills acquired in other majors.
Nutritional Sciences (B.S., M.S., Ph.D.), a major emphasizing intensive study of biological and physical sciences such as biochemistry, biology, chemistry, mathematics, microbiology, physics and physiology as a basis for understanding the science of nutrition and the relationships between nutrients and human health. Areas of study include energy metabolism, proteins, vitamins, minerals, human development, and clinical and community nutrition.
Dietetics (B.S.), one of the largest, oldest, and most highly-ranked programs in the country. The curriculum applies knowledge of nutrition, foods, and management to the maintenance of human health and well-being throughout the life-cycle, with an awareness of the impact of food and nutrition in different cultural, economic and social settings.
A Graduate Specialization in Food and Agricultural Standards is administered by the College of Social Science and the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Other noteworthy programs include an online Professional Master of Science in Food Safety and an International Food Laws Distance Education Certificate Program.
Current faculty research emphases include food safety and toxicology (with a focus on agents affecting human and animal health, including mycotoxins and other natural products; foodborne disease agents and their toxins; and a variety of nutritional factors), food processing and quality enhancement (particularly with regard to meat, fruit, vegetable, dairy and cereal products), biochemical nutrition (including nutrient bioavailability, vitamin and mineral functions, phytochemicals and cancer prevention, and neuroendrocrine regulation of energy metabolism), and community nutrition (prevention of chronic diseases such as obesity, cancer, and cardiovascular diseases and nutritional imbalances due to inappropriate food consumption patterns or underlying socio-psychological factors; identification of nutritional risk factors and predictors; improvement of health promotion programs and nutritional interventions).
Extension and outreach programs focus on Marketing Michigan Agricultural Products (including dairy, meat, and muscle foods and fruits and vegetables) and MSU Extension Nutrition Programs such as Project FRESH (an educational program providing participants with coupons to purchase locally grown fruits and vegetables at participating farmers' markets) and the Breast Feeding Initiative.
B. History of the Collection/Existing Strengths and Emphases
A brief account of the study of human nutrition and foods may be found in Home Economics to Human Ecology: 100 Years at Michigan State University (Margaret Bubolz, 1996). The program has a long and distinguished history and MSU has been a leader in the field since its inception. When the women's course was established in 1896, the study of foods was an integral component and included nutrition values, preparation, and food for the sick, children, and adults. As early as 1918, Hilda Faust in the Division of Home Economics was conducting food/nutrition research via her investigations into food chemistry and other problems. In 1922 Assistant Professor Dr. Marie Dye organized Research and Graduate Study in Nutrition. By the time the Home Economics (Human Ecology) Building opened in 1924, there were already three food laboratories and three nutrition laboratories. In that same year, an innovative collaboration with Lansing's Sparrow Hospital led to the offering of a bachelor's degree in home economics with a major in foods and nutrition and a diploma in nursing. The first Masters degrees in Nutrition were granted in 1927. By the time MSU reached its centennial year in 1955, the Foods and Nutrition Research undergraduate curriculum was well established.
The Department of Food Science was founded in 1959. Comprised of faculty from the departments of Agricultural Engineering, Horticulture, Dairy Science, Animal Husbandry and Poultry Science, the Department was administered by the College of Agriculture. In 1970 the Department of Food Science merged with the College of Human Ecology's Department of Human Nutrition and Foods (formerly, the Department of Foods and Nutrition, College of Home Economics) to form what is known today as the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition. Shortly thereafter, the nutrition laboratories were moved to the Food Science Building (now called G. Malcolm Trout Food Science and Human Nutrition Building). For many years the Department was jointly administered by the College of Human Ecology and the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources; it is now officially part of the latter college, and the Nutritional Science faculty and Human Nutrition graduate program are affiliated with the College of Natural Science.
The Libraries' collections have grown over the years to keep pace with the university's growth from an agricultural college to a major research institution, the phenomenal changes in food processing and packaging technologies, the shifting trends in eating patterns and food practices, and the heightened interest in food safety and food/health linkages.